|Publication number||US6094769 A|
|Application number||US 09/283,812|
|Publication date||Aug 1, 2000|
|Filing date||Apr 1, 1999|
|Priority date||Oct 2, 1996|
|Also published as||DE19640852A1, EP1006838A1, EP1006838B1, WO1998014091A1|
|Publication number||09283812, 283812, US 6094769 A, US 6094769A, US-A-6094769, US6094769 A, US6094769A|
|Inventors||Georges Driesen, Ahmet Cem Firatli, Rainer Hans, Norbert Schaefer, Armin Schwarz-Hartmann|
|Original Assignee||Braun Gmbh|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (23), Referenced by (23), Classifications (20), Legal Events (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This is a continuation of International application No. PCT/EP97/05222, pending, with an International filing date of Sep. 24, 1997.
This invention relates to a bristle for a toothbrush, in particular for an electric toothbrush, which is comprised of a monofilament made of plastic.
Bristles of this type are generally known and are used, for example, in electrically powered toothbrushes.
It is an object of the present invention to further develop such bristles, in particular with a view to achieving an improved cleaning effect when cleaning teeth.
This object is accomplished in a bristle of the type initially referred to in that the monofilament is of a non-circular cross-section, is twisted about its longitudinal axis, and is fixed as a result of the action of chemical agents.
A three-dimensionally structured surface is created by the non-circular cross-section and the twisting of the monofilament. Since an important role in dental cleaning is played not only by the bristle tip but also by the bristle shell surface, the bristle constructed in accordance with the present invention has a greater cleaning effect than hitherto. In particular, the structured surface is in a position to remove plaque from the tooth surface substantially better.
The twist and hence the structured surface of the monofilament are set permanently by fixing with the aid of chemical agents. During this process, the orientation conditions of the molecular chains in the filament material remain practically unchanged. Relocations occur in the edge layers only. This results in greater strength and rigidity of the bristle for the same diameter than with other fixing methods. As a result of the type of fixing used, it is possible to use monofilaments with particularly small diameters, which are then significantly better able to penetrate in particular interproximal spaces for the removal of plaque. The cleaning effect of the bristle according to the invention is thus substantially improved on the whole.
In an advantageous further configuration of the bristle of the present invention, the cross-section of the monofilament is approximately symmetrical to a plane extending parallel to the longitudinal axis. It has proven to be particularly suitable for the cross-section of the monofilament to be of an approximately stellate configuration. A particularly good three-dimensionally structured surface of the bristle is formed by these further configurations. In particular, this results in a helically structured bristle surface.
Diameters in the range from 0.1016 mm (4 mils), approximately, to 0.254 mm (10 mils), approximately, have proven to be particularly advantageous for the envelope curve of the monofilament, particularly in connection with the use of the bristle of the present invention in an electric toothbrush. Further, it is advantageous for the monofilament to have twists numbering from 0.5, approximately to 2 per mm, approximately, in the direction of the longitudinal axis, and for the monofilament to be made of polyamide, polyester and/or polypropylene.
In an advantageous method of manufacturing a bristle according to the present invention, the monofilament is twisted and then fixed as a result of the action of chemical agents. In this manner, the twist is retained permanently, while the mechanical properties of the monofilament are substantially preserved. Edges and corners are rounded off by the partial chemical dissolving of the monofilament, and the resulting transitions are clean particularly from the point of view of hygiene. Further, the fixing referred to represents a simple and highly controllable way of processing the twisted monofilament and of manufacturing therefrom the bristle according to the present invention with the described surface structure.
In an advantageous further configuration of the method of the present invention, the monofilament is twisted at one point, and at the same time twisting is prevented or curbed at a distance from this particular point. In this manner, a helical three-dimensional structure is produced on the surface of the bristle. Further, this structure includes additional edges and radii, which have an advantageous effect in general in dental cleaning and which are particularly suitable for removing plaque from the tooth surface or from out of interproximal spaces.
In an advantageous further configuration of the method of the present invention, the filaments are fixed in the solvent for a period of between 5 s, approximately, and 50 s, approximately, preferably between 20 s, approximately ,and 30 s, approximately. Formic acid has proven to be a particularly appropriate solvent for filaments made of polyamide.
In a particularly advantageous further configuration of the invention, the bristles of the invention are used in the inner field of a preferably electrically powered round-head toothbrush. (See FIGS. 3, 4).
Further features, advantages and application possibilities of the present invention will become apparent from the subsequent description of embodiments illustrated in more detail in the accompanying drawings. It will be understood that any single feature and any combination of single features described and/or represented by illustration form the subject-matter of the present invention, irrespective of their summary in the claims and their back reference.
FIGS. 1a and 1b are a schematic view and a cross-sectional view of a toothbrush bristle, illustrating an embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a schematic view of alternative cross-sections of the bristle of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a schematic view of a field of bristles of FIG. 1 on a toothbrush head; and
FIG. 4 is a schematic view of a field of bristles of FIG. 1 on a rotary bristle head.
FIGS. 1a and 1b show a bristle 1 which comprises monofilament 2. The monofilament 2 is made of plastic and is twisted. The twist is executed uniformly, which means that the surface structure of the bristle 1 is repeated continuously. The bristle 1 thus has a structured surface which the monofilament 2 does not possess initially, but which is not created until the monofilament 2 is twisted.
The monofilament 2 shown in FIGS. 1a and 1b may be made of polyamide, polyester, or polypropylene. The diameter of the envelope curve of the monofilament 2 referred to may amount to between 0.1016 mm (4 mils), approximately, and 0.254 mm (10 mils), approximately. The monofilament 2 may have twists numbering from 0.5 per mm, approximately, to 2.0 per mm, approximately, in the direction of its longitudinal axis.
The monofilament 2 has a non-circular cross-section. This cross-section is of a stellate configuration in accordance with FIG. 1b and hence is approximately symmetrical to a plane extending parallel to the longitudinal axis. A helical three-dimensional structure, identified by reference numeral 3 in FIG. 1a, is obtained by the non-circular cross-section and the twisting of the monofilament 2.
It is also possible for the cross-section of the monofilament 2 to adopt any one of the alternative shapes as illustrated in FIG. 2.
To manufacture the bristle 1, the monofilament 2 is twisted. For this purpose, the monofilament 2 is twisted at one point while at the same time it is held fixed at a distance from this particular point, thus preventing or at least curbing a twist. It is possible to perform the twisting of the monofilament 2 with prior stretched filaments which already have the required mechanical properties.
The twisted monofilament 2 is then dipped in a solvent where it is fixed by partial chemical dissolving. The dwell time in the solvent amounts to a period of between 5 s, approximately, and 50 s, approximately. Phenol, M-cresol or formic acid may be used as solvents. Highly concentrated formic acid has proven to be particularly advantageous. In this case the monofilament is conveniently wetted with the solvent for a period of between 20 s, approximately, and 30 s, approximately. By dipping or wetting the monofilament 2 in or with the solvent, the twisting is fixed. This means that the monofilament 2 does not untwist again but that the twist remains permanently.
During or after the fixing it is possible to vary the mechanical properties, in particular the rigidity, the fatigue and/or the resilience of the monofilament 2, by stretching and/or by means of a thermal treatment.
The monofilament 2 is then cleaned of the solvent by rinsing with water or the like, or the solvent is neutralized by some other means, for example, by evaporation. The monofilament 2 is then dried by radiated heat or the like.
The described bristle 1 of FIGS. 1a and 1b is intended for use, as illustrated in FIG. 3 and FIG. 4, in toothbrushes 5, particularly for use in electric toothbrushes 6. FIG. 3 shows a field 4 of bristles on the toothbrushe's bristle head. The described bristle 1 may be used particularly advantageously in the inner field of a round-head tooth brush.
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|U.S. Classification||15/207.2, 264/210.1, 300/21, 264/178.00F, 264/177.13, 15/167.1, 428/397, 428/371, 428/400, 264/290.5, 428/399|
|Cooperative Classification||A46D1/00, Y10T428/2973, A46D1/0238, Y10T428/2978, Y10T428/2976, Y10T428/2925|
|European Classification||A46D1/02E, A46D1/00|
|Jan 24, 2000||AS||Assignment|
|Aug 21, 2001||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Feb 18, 2004||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Aug 2, 2004||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Sep 28, 2004||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20040801